Photo by: Will Gentry
Oklahoma Christian University provides a unique opportunity for art majors to show off their work.
“Each year we’ve had a student show that we do in the spring,” Professor of Art and Design Michael O’Keefe said. “We faculty members gather up what we believe to be the strongest works that the students have produced in the school year. After the reception, the work will stay up for approximately three and-a-half weeks.”
The process starts when professors grade pieces. If a professor sees something that looks significant, they make a note of it, keeping it aside until the show. Oklahoma Christian will then go through and check to make sure everything is appropriate, but there is rarely an issue.
Students also have the option to submit work themselves if they wish. The faculty will look it over and if it is selected, it goes in. The subjects range from traditional art to gaming designs.
It takes a few days to put everything together. Each wall in the gallery displays a different class, such as typography and illustration.
“There are all kinds of different assignments on display,” senior graphic design major Lindley Weaver said. “One assignment may have been for us to illustrate a pet peeve, another may have been to pick a word to describe without using the actual word.”
According to Weaver, some professors do not let students use the same medium twice, so pictures are composed with many different things from watercolors to markers to cut up pieces of paper.
The gallery also contains physical art, like sculptures with clay and wire. There is also a section for thumbnails of the works.
“Thumbnails are really important to our pieces,” Weaver said. “Each of these pieces probably has at least 10 thumbnails, if not 20 and all the way up to 50. Your thumbnail is the outline of the idea, and each one will be different. The goal is to get the ideas out the best you can.”
The artwork is not all book covers and abstract concepts. The gallery also contains student advertisements, public service announcements, 3D modeling and even photoshopping.
One thing that comes from having work displayed is exposure. Junior art major Julie Drohan said that it is at least superficially fulfilling to see that people like your work.
“I’ve been in a couple of classes that have work selected by the students,” Drohan said. “I’ve had four pieces in the gallery over time. It is nice to have my art exposed, and even though you can’t get any critiques or feedback, it’s rewarding anyway.”
According to Drohan, the selection process works by having students lay out all the work applicable for the gallery and rate them from best to worst. From there, students will look through and see which ones they like the most. Technicalities like craftsmanship often become the deciding factor.
“The class ultimately decides what pieces go in,” Drohan said. “If I had the choice, I would have put a different piece in than what’s in there now.”
Each academic school year, Oklahoma Christian brings in five shows featuring nationally and internationally known artists, designers, and photographers. These have included cartoonist Mike Luckovich, illustrator Tim Jessell and many others. Senior fine arts major Alison Treat said that it is good that the school hosts the art school, especially for the younger students.
“As a freshman, it was cool to see my stuff up beside older students who have had a little more success,” Treat said. “I think it’s really good for younger artists.”
Weaver said that she encourages students to see the artwork on display and support their student body.
“I don’t think enough people come out to these things,” Weaver said. “I don’t think students even know that we have an art department that shows work frequently, so it’ll be great for them to see that we do.”